Millions of people take dietary supplements in the belief that they boost health. New research casts doubt on these pills and tablets. The American organisation Consumer Reports (CR) found serious health risks from vitamins, probiotics, and weight loss pills. CR said the biggest problem is that supplements are largely unregulated. Medicinal drugs have to be tested for safety and effectiveness, but supplements need much less government approval. This means consumers are in the dark regarding the ingredients of the supplements and how the body reacts to them.
Lisa Gill from CR said the report showed the dangers of supplements. She said they could cause liver and kidney failure, kidney transplants, and heart problems. Gill added: "Just because it's not prescription, you say, 'oh, it's safe,' but that's not necessarily true." She urged people to avoid 15 ingredients in supplements, including red yeast and caffeine powder. She warned: "There have been deaths associated with each of these." She told people to see a doctor or pharmacist before taking supplements. She said: "Treat it like a medication….It's really about your health."